The Rockets are still staring down the barrel of James Harden‘s trade request. But they’re adding someone who could help Harden win now or fit into a rebuild – Christian Wood.
All because the Pistons are instead infatuated with another frontcourt player – Jerami Grant.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Deal expected to be completed with a sign-and-trade via Detroit, per source. https://t.co/TALHbm9OlP
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Denver was willing to match the three-year, $60M offer Jerami Grant received from Detroit. Grant enjoyed his time in Denver, but leaves for Pistons where he is expected to have an enhanced offensive role. https://t.co/qdiIhku6gb
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 21, 2020
Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports:
James Edwards of The Athletic:
It’s very likely that Dedmon and McGruder are waived and stretched by the #Pistons, per sources. I believe @VinceGoodwill was first on Dedmon.
— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) November 21, 2020
That is a ton to pay Grant, but he’s easy to like. He plays hard, fearlessly defends the league’s star small forwards and has the athletic versatility to switch onto other positions. He worked hard to become a solid 3-point shooter.
As far as a bigger offensive role… How will that happen in Detroit? The Pistons have Blake Griffin at power forward. Sliding someone to small-ball center is difficult with so many traditional centers on the roster. Does Detroit plan to make Grant an offensive small forward? That might be asking too much of his perimeter skills.
In addition to Grant’s own salary, signing him also requires incurring a $2,866,667 cap hit each of the next five years for a stretched Dewayne Dedmon and probably a $1,038,461 cap hit each of the next five years for a stretched Rodney McGruder.
And losing Wood.
Wood isn’t a big name like Russell Westbrook (or before that, Chris Paul). But Wood ought to ever-so-slightly nudge Harden toward staying in Houston.
An athletic and talented big, Wood can make positive plays outside and inside both offensively and defensively. He has produced well in every opportunity on the floor since going undrafted in 2015. He got his biggest role with the Pistons last season and flourished, drawing consideration for Sixth Man of the Year. Just 25, Wood should continue to progress during this contract (though there are concerns about how he’ll fit into the Rockets’ culture).
Detroit and Houston can fold the Wood sign-and-trade into the Trevor Ariza deal. So, the Rockets needn’t send out another player to match salaries. Wood’s upside justifies sending extra draft compensation to the Pistons and accepting a hard cap, which is triggered by acquiring someone in a sign-and-trade.
Denver is in a tough spot after planning to re-sign Grant, who fit well between Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. Maybe the Nuggets will now re-sign their other option at power forward, Paul Millsap.